One more thing

I’m also fascinated by one line of reasoning Doutré uses, which is that if a culture can achieve greatness in areas A, B and C, then you should expect them to expect them to achieve greatness in D. He uses this to claim that as the South American civilisations were great builders, et al, we should also expect them to be great navigators.

Once again, three things.

1. Doutré seems to treat the South American groups in antiquity as one; we now know that they did not present a civilisation like Rome or Ancient Egypt with a single culture and a single capital. These groups existed independently of one another, co-operating where need be. Given what we know about them it is very plausible indeed to suspect that they weren’t the great navigators they claim to be.

2. Doutré seems to suggest that by denying his thesis you denigrate these peoples. He doesn’t seem to think that by denying the conventional wisdom he is denigrating the Polynesians, however.

3. If Doutré’s reasoning was correct you’d be able to argue, via analogy, for all sorts of things. Leonardo da Vinci was a great artist and inventor; surely he must have been a great novelist? This then leads you to all sorts of weird inferences; Edward de Vere was an acclaimed playwright in his day but his plays have not survived… Or have they? That road leads you to the Shakespeare Conspiracy Theories, where you infer that de Vere is the Bard because of inferences about de Vere’s life that fit the things Shakespeare wrote.

About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.